We have a few of the Perplexus models here because I think they are really cool. For those of you who have never seen them they are a clear globe with a complex track inside that is broken up by colors and you need to keep a small ball on the track from the start to the end. It is a great way to work on motor planning, visual motor skills, and bilateral coordination.
I recently decided to try the ‘rookie’ with my kiddo who has spastic quadriplegia CP. I wasn’t sure how it would go based on his physical challenges but I knew intellectually he was bright enough to know what to do. It was really interesting to watch him try to work it out. First I demonstrated it to him and he talked me through which way to turn the globe so that the ball stays on the track. He was able to verbally instruct me as well as point to the direction of movement that I needed to move the globe. Clearly he understood the concept of it.
Next I gave it to him. He concentrated so hard on it but had a really hard time moving the globe within his hands. It was easier for him to keep his hands stable on the globe and try to twist it. When he did this the ball frequently fell off the track. I began working with him on how to turn the globe within his hands. I used some hand over hand and step by step verbal cues and he began to get the hang of it. He needed to use a lot of extra stabilization such as with his chest and his chin while he attempted to move his hands without the globe moving with them. He also did a great job of maintaining an upright posture while doing this activity. He has a tendency to slouch when sitting in a chair and performing activities with his hands so it was great to see that this game allowed him to maintain his postural stability much better than normal.
I would say with a kiddo like this the motor planning required for the bilateral coordination of his hands and then integrating the visual is what it really works on. Whats great is that because it is broken up by color you can create goals such as get to the red track and then get to the purple track, so that they don’t get frustrated when the ball falls off the track. When I did step in and help a bit I had him continue to direct how we should turn it so that he was able to continue his intellectual and visual problem solving.
How have you used the Perplexus?